I think anyone planning early retirement has been in the obsession stage. It’s the point where you think of your cost of living numbers at work, you read just about every book from you local library on early retirement and your spouse starts giving you that look like you might be crazy as you play with your spreadsheet for the three time that night.
Don’t fear it’s merely a stage you go through at the start of your early retirement planning. So how do you cope with an early retirement obsession?
- First off you have to admit you are obsessed. Really it’s ok to be this way for a while. I think everyone gets a jolt of pure happiness when they realize ‘you mean I don’t HAVE to work till I’m 65’ or ‘I can be financial independent and tell my boss to shove it any time I feel like it’. It’s sort of addicting at the start.
- Start to look past the numbers quickly. Money is only a tiny part of the whole plan. If you focus just on the money your obsession is likely to turn unhealthy very quickly. Just come up with a rough game plan and know you will come back and adjust it later on (usually adjusting things several times).
- Move on to make your life happier right now. Don’t plan for stuff you are going to do when you leave work, that’s for later. Right now go through your life and start adjusting. If it is overly complex, start simplifying. If you dislike your job, start looking for another one. Use the obsession to motivate some positive changes to your life. Often a general unhappiness is one of the first motivators for looking at early retirement.
- Get your significant other on board. This may take years for them to really understand the concept completely. I think my wife assumed this blog and my goal to retire at 45 was just another one of my latest obsessions of the month. Now I think it’s starting to sink in that I’m seriously planning to retire by my 45th birthday.
- Expand your interests. As part of your plan to retire early you need a lot of other interests to keep you busy for your very long and happy life without work. So get started on trying new things and finding out what you enjoy. This also helps the issue of balancing saving for the future and enjoying today.
Well that’s my game plan to get you started over your obsession. After a while the obsession drops away and early retirement is merely and long term goal and one of your many interests. So what is your advice on dealing with the obsession?